One of the biggest organizational challenges for me has always been organizing all the incoming student papers. It seemed like no matter what I did or what system I tried, I always had endless stacks of papers. That all changed when I read a post by 2nd Grade Stuff last summer about how she handles the stacks of papers.
I always knew I needed to get a handle on my incoming papers for the following school year, but her post gave me a plan of action. On this post, I will show you my new (and highly successful-thank goodness!) way of organizing three categories of incoming papers that had previously driven me crazy!
Since I have limited space, I knew I needed to be purposeful about the baskets I chose to have. In my room, I barely have enough room for my 30 5th graders, so I definitely didn’t have the luxury of having ample baskets and shelf space. With that in mind, I narrowed it down and chose three baskets and three main categories of paperwork that needed a home on a regular basis.
Here are the baskets I chose: “Turn In,” “Extra Handouts,” and “Homework”
The “Homework” basket is pretty self explanatory. The students placed their homework in this basket each morning. This really cuts down on the “I turned my homework in, but I can’t find it.” The students know exactly where it goes and the basket never moves from its spot.
This basket also helps when we go over homework. After I (or my student helpers) quickly check the homework for completion, we pass it back out to go over it or to finish the next day. I make homework packets so the homework packet gets turned in and returned each day, even if we don’t always review it on a daily basis. No more lost homework with this basket! It is either in the basket or with the student. To read more tips about how I manage homework, click here.
Extra Handouts Basket
The “Extra Handouts” basket is definitely my favorite. I am guilty of always running off one extra copy of each printable needed. You know, for that ONE kid that always loses his/her paper.
The “Extra Handouts” basket also helps with passing out papers for a lesson. When passing out papers, I usually quickly count out 10 papers for each team (I have three teams of 10). If I miscount and give a team extra papers, the last student knows to put the extra paper in the basket. Any teams that were shortchanged a paper know to look in this basket for the handout they need.
Turn In Basket
And finally, the “Turn In” Basket is the “catchall” basket. I usually empty this basket out once a day and check it each morning for parent notes. This basket houses any paperwork (except homework) that needs to be turned it throughout the day or in the morning (parent notes, doctor excuses, report cards, etc).
I also have classwork turned into the basket as well. It is usually not this full, but we had just turned in report cards that morning. At the end of each day, I empty the classwork out as well and move it to my new graded papers folder. Read about this folder here.
I used the editable free labels from Ladybug’s Teacher Files which can you find by clicking here.
I did spend the first month of school training my students and making sure they used the correct basket on a regular basis. It definitely paid off. Now the student papers all have a home and those are just a few less stacks of papers for me to have to go through at the end of the day.
These three simple baskets were an organizational life saver this past year! Do you use a similar method to organize student papers? Let me know in the comments.